[Linux-aus] Inflection Point - A Strategic Plan for Linux Australia

Stewart Smith stewart at flamingspork.com
Wed Jan 6 15:31:33 AEDT 2016

Michael Cordover <la at mjec.net> writes:
>> or someone starting to make some small incremental improvements. Every
>> attempt at rewriting from scratch has gone nowhere, largely because
>> that's a whole bunch of extra effort.
> Kathy Reid provided a working document to linux-aus on 2 Feb 2015
> outlining enhancements that would be required to MemberDB. That's at
> https://docs.google.com/document/d/1tyTA3Fj5J9XL2D7UTIxw46smXGrLM5J-fI4g6GxK9hM/edit?usp=sharing.
> The key functionality of MemberDB that would need to be replicated in
> any other system (aside from everyone-provides things like sign up flow)
> is elections. MemberDB does this quite well, and meets some specific
> needs:
> 1. the ability to run the whole process, including nominations,
> acceptance and candidate statements
> 2. preferential voting

Yep, that's the basic stumbling block.

Note that in the past LA did throw money at the problem of getting that
implemented, so it could do so again....

> The latest Launchpad commit to MemberDB
> (https://launchpad.net/memberdb/trunk) was 2011-02-04. Its underlying
> DAL is built on PEAR::DB, which has long since been superseded
> (http://pear.php.net/manual/en/package.database.db.php). A quick look
> indicates it was probably built for PHP 4, which was EOL in August
> 2008.

Yeah, that's possible - although it did work on early 5.x at least. I
think there's problems with the latest, which isn't so fun.

> If someone can take on making improvements to MemberDB, that's great.
> But it doesn't have the structure of a modern application, and it won't
> work within a modern development environment. I think it's unlikely
> anyone would want to maintain and improve it without a major refactor,
> or indeed rewrite.

yeah, I'd agree.

> If we're going to work on that basis, we should consider whether we
> should be using one or more other tools. CiviCRM isn't perfect, and
> requires a Drupal base. It's a bit clunky, in part because it has a lot
> of functionality which is not immediately useful to LA. However, it
> gives all of the new functionality we need, and building in election
> functionality would almost certainly be far less effort than building
> the new functionality (in Kathy's document) into MemberDB. As a bonus,
> we can contribute that back to the existing large community of CiviCRM
> users.
> MemberDB was an excellent tool. It was state of the art when the last
> official release occurred, nearly 10 years ago. That we've been able to
> continue using it is a testament to its quality. However, it does not
> meet the current needs of LA.

It's actually closer to 13 years now  - which is a pretty long life for
a tool for an organisation. Basically, MemberDB has existed in some form
for nearly all of this century.

If somebody works on it, or on replacing it, that's great!

Stewart Smith
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